“I have always had great admiration for women in STEM careers and now I am in that position myself”
My first dream job was to be a vet – this was quickly vetoed after my sister told me where my hands would end up! After I finished my A-Levels, I spent some time working in retail as a visual merchandiser and then working in the food industry helping to develop new food-to-go products. After realising that I wasn’t enjoying my job, I left in search of a science-based role.
Apprenticeships have always appealed to me because I like the hybrid approach of learning and working. Before I came across this apprenticeship, I didn’t think it was possible for me to access a role like this without a degree.
As an apprentice bioengineering technician, my role is varied, and every day is different. I am constantly learning new things and putting them into practice.
“My parents really instilled a lot of pride in me growing up as a Sikh.”
When I was growing up, the racist murder of Gurdip Chagga and the killing of Blair Peach during the Southall riots in 1979 had a huge impact on me. This led me to become quite politicised and influenced me to study politics and international relations at university. I then also went on to do a postgraduate diploma in ethnic relations as I wanted to understand what more I could do to make things better for ethnic minority communities.
The workshop is where I belong. As a Mechanical Workshop Technician, I provide mechanical engineering consultancy, design and manufacture services and support teaching for students and staff. I look after the mechanics labs in the department, produce prototypes for research, perform mechanical testing and provide training for students so they can make projects work. It’s very much a student-facing role. The best part of my job is trying to transfer whatever I know to students. It’s rewarding to see them learning through real experience.
When I was working in the US in the private sector, I volunteered with school students in the summers introducing them to STEM subjects, and I offered internships for university students with autism to help them prepare for graduation and finding a job. This volunteering experience made me think I might be interested in working in the education sector.
I’m gay and one of the hardest things for me growing up was that I was stuck in a world where both sides of my identity, the Pakistani and the gay sides, don’t tend to like each other. When I came out, I expected backlash from the South Asian community, particularly from the religious Muslim community. What was disappointing and really shocking to me was the amount of racism within the LGBT+ community.
When I first came out and started going out in Soho in London, I was turned away from many places. This happened for about seven or eight years after I came out when I was 18. I was shocked by the number of people who would come up to me and tell me that I didn’t belong there or who would basically assume that I was there to blow up the club. I would say that there is still a significant amount of prejudice towards people of colour within the LGBT+ community – it’s a serious problem. I know that more and more steps are being taken to tackle it, but I think we still have a long way to go.
“A building can only run as smoothly as its staff, and thankfully hard work is recognised in my position.”
I was lucky enough to join Imperial not long after finishing College. In the 11 years since I’ve been here, I’ve worked in pretty much all the buildings across South Ken, Hammersmith and White City.
I’ve been the Front of House Co-ordinator for the I-HUB for the past six years. I do a little bit of everything for the building and its members. Visitors, members and guests are my main priority, but you can also catch me patching internet and phone lines or giving a tour to prospective tenants.
Time flies on an ever-evolving construction site…I can’t believe how much the White City Campus has changed since we opened in 2016 and aside from the noise, roadworks and diversions we’ve endured, it’s turned out to be quite a nice place to come to work! Having Westfield down the road though is dangerous after pay day.
“Knowing I’m making a difference to students is the best part of my job.”
After graduating, my first job was in training design within the defence sector. This was a million miles away from what I imagined I’d be doing, but I found I had a real skill for online learning.
I joined Imperial in 2018 and I’m currently a Product Engineer within the student lifecycle. Day-to-day I support and improve existing e-learning systems and implement new ones. I speak to staff and students about issues they are having with a system, or ideas they have to improve it. I love how varied my job is and that I can keep learning.
The pandemic had a big impact on my role, and lockdown presented an exciting challenge. I’m really proud of the work my team and I have done which enabled a relatively smooth transition to online-only learning. We faced some unique challenges, such as converting learning materials to be accessible in places where it’s not easy to log on to Blackboard and Panopto, running exams online, and helping ed-tech teams to run re-designed virtual lectures and seminars.
“I really enjoying being part of a team that puts customers first and allows a better customer and student experience.”
I joined Imperial College’s ICT department in March 2019 as a Customer Services Manager for Support Services, I met some talented and inspiring people and made some friends along the way. The best part of this role was being able to help, guide and provide solutions quickly to my customers, especially during the COVID19 pandemic.
In 2020 I took on the role as IT Service Management Lead looking at a customer-focused approach to delivering information technology. Having worked in this industry for over 13 years and being fortunate enough to be guided by one of the co-authors of the globally recognised framework ITIL, I am passionate about being able to focus on providing value to customers and building customer relationships.
Some frequently asked questions and issues from customers are “Where do I find information? What services do ICT support? I don’t have access, or it’s expired. I’m unable to log in.” My role involves reducing these types of issues by designing processes that underpin and drive efficiencies for the services ICT deliver. This includes looking at areas where a lot of time and manual effort is being spent and exploring how this can be digitally transformed by levering technology to automate recurring tasks that deliver better customer experiences.
“With such a varied and busy workload – it’s safe to say there’s never a quiet or dull day in my role!”
I studied journalism at university before working for a fashion brand in Australia where I discovered a love for digital content. After moving to the UK four years ago I started working at the Business School in the Programmes Marketing team.
I lead the Content Marketing team to create and produce inspirational and practical content for prospective MBA, Master’s PhD and Summer School students. We target all stages of the student recruitment journey, from deciding whether to apply, the application process and receiving an offer.
Our content comes in many formats, including blog posts, videos, photography and student profiles. We recently produced our first podcast series and our Student Content Creator scheme, which allows students to share their authentic Imperial experience, has helped increase our blog users by 20%.
“I am currently studying a degree apprenticeship in Project Management to further my knowledge”
I currently work as a Technology Delivery Manager in ICT having previously worked in the external events team. I never saw myself working in ICT as I thought it was too technical, however I have surprised myself with how much of a geek I am! I love learning about how things work “behind the scenes” and seeing that transposed on a client facing system. I now work with staff across the College on projects which improve student administration and experience.
I am currently studying a degree apprenticeship in Project Management to further my knowledge on areas I have had little exposure to thus far. I’m formalising my current work experience into a recognised qualification as part of my career development.
So far, the degree has not only provided taught content, but a network of colleagues from different industries who offer insights into project control and management in other workplaces. It has also provided a great support network as deadlines loom and panic sets in!(more…)
“With so much LGBT+ visibility on campus, I felt empowered to be true to myself”
Having recently binged ‘And Just Like That’, a spinoff of the 90s hit show ‘Sex And The City’, I feel like Carrie Bradshaw writing this blogpost. So, let me begin by borrowing Carrie’s iconic phrase. I couldn’t help but wonder: What is it like to work at Imperial as a young, gay man?
As Export Control Support Officer in the Research Office, I help Imperial’s academics protect their research from being misused, for example, in human rights violations or weapons development. My team and I train researchers on export control regulations and help them collaborate with overseas colleagues and funders safely. I’m very proud of the contributions to national security we make together with our researchers.